As seen in Newsday
The inmate health care provider at Nassau County’s jail could have prevented an Oceanside man’s 2014 death if not for its “incompetent and deficient” medical treatment, according to a state commission, which also found an overall pattern of negligent care at New York facilities where the company holds contracts.
Inmate John Gleeson, 40, an electrician and father of two, had suffered from angioedema, a condition where swelling bouts can escalate into breathing emergencies.
In a new report on his July 14, 2014, death, the state Commission of Correction broadly criticized Armor Correctional Health Care Services, the Miami-based company that first won a multimillion-dollar contract from Nassau for inmate medical care in 2011.
“Had John Gleeson been provided with competent medical care by Armor Inc. in a timely manner, been properly referred to a specialist, received a correct diagnosis, and received proper medical treatment, his death may have been prevented,” says the report, which Newsday obtained Monday.
James Pascarella, an attorney for Gleeson’s family, said Monday that the commission’s “disturbing” findings fit with what they’d expected to hear after their devastating loss.
“It’s what our investigation has led us to conclude,” the Mineola attorney said. “It’s disturbing to hear that this could have been prevented had Armor been diligent.”
Gleeson had pleaded not guilty to a burglary charge on the day he died and had been hoping to get out of jail soon, following his April 2014 arrest.
Other Nassau jail inmates had said Gleeson’s throat swelled dramatically in the hours before he died, and that he had reported serious breathing trouble, Newsday has previously reported.
The August Newsday story also said Gleeson had told the inmates that he had gotten Benadryl in the medical unit before he was sent back to his cell to be locked down for the night.
Gleeson’s family, and one of those inmates, also had told Newsday that Gleeson had made repeated trips to the medical unit on the day he died. His father had accused officials of letting his son “suffer and die,” despite having treated Gleeson for swelling flare-ups earlier in his incarceration and knowing about the deadly risk of angioedema.
The Commission of Correction’s medical review board found that problems with Armor’s treatment of Gleeson included deficient medical knowledge on the part of its doctors and midlevel clinicians, compounded by problems created by unorganized and incomplete health care records.
The report follows the state’s criticism of Armor after a Nassau inmate died in 2011 and another in 2012.
It also directs the presiding officer of the county legislature to conduct an inquiry into Armor’s fitness to provide inmate medical care, something the same commission advised the county executive’s office to do after the 2011 death.
“Specific attention shall be directed to Armor’s pattern of failing to properly manage patients’ chronic medical needs, failing to maintain proper and organized patient records, and failing to provide hospitalization for patients where clinically indicated,” it says.
State officials also directed Armor to make changes, including by establishing an organized and uniform health record system for inmates, and by reviewing its health care delivery system to consider using a single case manager for each inmate.
Armor didn’t immediately comment Monday on the state’s report, nor did county officials.